SAN FRANCISCO - Jeff Samardzija, who turned 33 earlier this year, said he hasn't missed a practice or game since having inner ear surgery in the seventh grade. It's understandable, then, that Samardzija is trying to speed up the rehab schedule after suffering a strained right pectoral.
Samardzija will play catch on Wednesday, picking up a ball for the first time since having an MRI the day before the Giants left spring training. He hopes that leads to a bullpen session and soon a return to the mound, although team officials are preaching caution.
"I want to pitch," Samardzija said. "I don't enjoy watching. It doesn't sit right with me."
Samardzija will open the season on the disabled list, marking his first DL stint of a career hitting its 11th year. In discussing his injury Tuesday, he didn't sound concerned, although it should be noted that Samardzija did not publicly display much concern during spring training, when his velocity was down four to five miles per hour and he was hit hard repeatedly.
Samardzija said the strain is "pretty standard stuff," and something that he usually feels in spring training, only to get right after three or four appearances.
"It's just that this year it didn't dissipate as in the past," he said. "We just weren't getting that response. It was a holding pattern after starts and in between."
Samardzija said he was "shoving the ball a lot," not throwing, and described feeling a lack of mobility in his shoulder as he pitched. He has been on mild anti-inflammatories over the past week and said he feels good, although he conceded that the training staff probably has a different timetable than he does. The Giants have said that Samardzija likely will miss the first three to four weeks of the season.
With Samardzija and Madison Bumgarner on the disabled list, the Giants will turn to Ty Blach, Derek Holland and Chris Stratton to round out the rotation. They're hopeful that Samardzija's turn comes up just two to three times before he can join those three and Johnny Cueto. That process starts Wednesday, when Samardzija will pick up a ball. He said he'll know right away whether or not the rehab process will ramp up.
"It's going to be pretty obvious pretty early whether (the strain) is still there or not," he said.